If you read my Christmas post, you know how excited I was to celebrate Oliver’s first Christmas. Well, fate had other things in mind and Christmas Eve I got the stomach flu. I spent basically all of Christmas day on the couch asleep, which left Mauricio taking care of Oliver pretty much by himself. I guess we were lucky that it happened on Christmas and Mauricio was off all day, if Mauricio was at work I really don’t know what I would have done. Taking care of Olivers every need left Mauricio with a whole new understanding of what it’s like to take care of him all day and night. He told me afterwards that even though he never thought I had it easy, he definitely will never say I have an easy job being home with Oliver. I absolutely love that most days I am able to be home with my baby, but it is not an easy job at all. So I figured now would be as good a time as any to share my routine to try and keep my house clean and my baby happy, my stay at home mom routine if you will. It’s not a perfect system, and it is ever-changing with the needs of the house, but this is a basic rundown of what I do to try and keep my house decent.
Keep in mind I’m not a full time stay at home mom. I go to work Monday and Tuesday all day and Wednesday-Friday I work for 2 hours in the morning, before Mauricio has to go to work. For now, we need that extra bit of income and it works out that Mauricio’s mom is off on Monday and Tuesday which gives us free child care and allows me 2 full days of work. To be honest, those two days are the hardest days for me as a mom. It’s not that I hate working, I have a decent job where I get to work with my mom as well. But I would just much rather be home with my baby, watching him grow and change every minute. Also I’ve never been a very career driven person. I never had a specific thing I could see myself doing when I grew up, like some people. When I went to college I took a variety of classes thinking I might find my passion, but it didn’t happen. I had a lot of interest in different things, but I couldn’t see a career attached to any of them. So it doesn’t bother me at all that I am working less since having a baby. In all actuality, having Oliver and being a mom feels like what I am supposed to be doing, like I’ve found my purpose. Our goal is for me to eventually not have to work at all, and be a full time stay at home mom. I understand that not all women want to stay home with kids, and that’s totally fine. But for me, it’s an absolute dream to be able to be home with my kids all the time.
Now, I’ve never been a very tidy or organized person. I’m sure my mom is going to find it funny that I’m even writing a post about keeping things clean, it’s never been my strong suit. That’s exactly why I needed to make a plan for myself to help make sure I keep the house as clean as I can. Since I have pretty much the whole day Wednesday-Friday at home, I wanted to make sure that I got all the major household chores done on those days so that once the weekend rolls around and Mauricio is home, we can just relax together or get out and do something fun as a family. My basic schedule is: laundry on Wednesday, shopping on Thursday and a major cleaning area on Friday. Then I squeeze in all the other little tasks as I can throughout the days. As Oliver gets older and more mobile, it’s getting more difficult, and necessary, to do some of my cleaning, For example: He used to just sit and watch me sweep, but now he’s more interested in the broom and tries to follow me around and grab it. It’s fun and all, but it definitely slows the whole process down.
Since Mondays and Tuesdays I’m at work until 5 there isn’t much room to get much done around the house before Mauricio gets home around 8. By the time I pick Oliver up, get him home and fed, it’s already 6:30 and I have to start thinking about dinner for Mauricio and I. That’s another reason these days are my least favorite, I feel so rushed to get everything done when I get home. These are the days when I’m not particularly creative with dinner, and occasionally I’ll even order a pizza for Mauricio to bring home if I really can’t get it together. Once dinner is over and cleaned up, it’s basically time to shower and get to bed. I’m one of those people who can’t do anything after 10 PM, I can’t even tell you how many movies I’ve seen only the first 30 minutes of because I fall asleep. So since I have a pretty strict bedtime for myself, I know it’s not realistic for me to think I’m going to get some major chore done on these days. This is a big reason I say power to the mama’s who work full time. I can’t image the tornado my house would be if this was my routine Monday-Friday!
Wednesday-Friday is a totally different story. Here’s a breakdown of my days after work. I get home from work a little after 10 and Oliver and I have breakfast together before I start on my daily chores. I have to vacuum the couch every morning, because despite having 2 nice comfy dog beds, the dogs are sure the couch is theirs and they both shed like crazy. I can’t stand it when I sit down and get covered in hair, so this is usually my very first task of the day. Typically I will also sweep and vacuum up the dirt while I have the vacuum out.
Lets count how many times I write vacuum, I’ve misspelled it almost every time so far.We have concrete floors throughout our house so sweeping them up is pretty quick and easy. I need to sweep the floors early in the day because Oliver does more of a full body slide than a crawl so whatever is on the floor is rubbed right in to his clothes. Since the dogs and cats are able to come and go as they want from the house, they track in a lot of dirt from outside and again, the dogs shed like crazy so there’s a lot of hair.
On Wednesdays and Fridays, we play for a little bit and then Oliver goes down for his morning nap. While he’s napping on Wednesday, I sort laundry and get a little time to relax before he wakes up. We play for a while before we make lunch and Mauricio comes home to eat. Then by the time all the laundry is washed, it’s usually Olivers afternoon nap and I get to watch some TV while I fold. Wednesdays are pretty easy, so I’ll also often mop or do some other big-ish cleaning thing.
On Thursdays we get going right to the store after breakfast, if I wait too long it starts pushing nap-time and I risk a grocery store meltdown. Mostly though, Oliver absolutely loves the store. He’s really made one of my least favorite chores a bit better. He loves seeing new things and loves flirting with all the people who tell him how cute he is. Also our store recently got scan and go, which I can’t praise enough, Oliver is fascinated with the scanner. I’m sure as he grows up it’ll be a fun thing for him to do and participate in while I shop. As soon as we’re home from the store, Oliver usually passes right out from all the action so I’m able to bring groceries in and put them away while he naps. I also use this as an opportunity to clean out any bad food from the fridge. I used to be really bad at this and I’d end up finding some who knows how many months old toxic leftovers that would practically make me pass out when I opened the box. Trust me when I say, it’s a lot better to just go through the fridge once a week and check for things that are starting to turn. Then I’ll sometimes try and squeeze in another around the house cleaning thing before Oliver wakes up. Often times though I crash on the couch because the store tires me out too. After Mauricio comes home and has lunch, Oliver and I get to play most of the afternoon. During his afternoon nap I’ll usually clean up the kitchen, I’m not really sure why but for some reason I feel like the kitchen needs cleaned on Thursdays.
Fridays I delegate towards one big cleaning project. I mostly rotate through cleaning the bathrooms, deep cleaning the kitchen and dusting the whole house. If I notice another area that is needing a good cleaning I’ll save that for my Friday project. I try and keep our room clean on a daily basis, but every so often it gets the best of me and turns in to a bed hidden within piles of clothes and toys. Or the office will sometimes turn in to a disaster area if I need one document. I don’t know if you know this, but it’s impossible to find one piece of paper without taking out every single folder and piece of paper you have. Once I get something major cleaned for the day, I get the rest of the day to relax or in the summer I would try and take Oliver out to do something fun like going to the park or swimming. Now that it’s winter and I have no desire to go outside we mostly just play with toys inside. I can’t wait for it to be warm again outside. Fridays I would usually get to do some gardening or other outside chores and I think next year it will be fun to have Oliver help with some of that. Or it’ll be a disaster and he’ll try and eat everything I plant…time will tell.
Now when I say I’ll do other around the house things during naps, I essentially mean more cleaning. It’s really amazing how dirty a house can get with just three people, and two dogs, and two cats and two turtles. Okay, maybe it makes sense that my house takes a lot to keep clean. The turtles filters have to be cleaned about every other day at least, and that’s something I don’t like doing while Oliver is awake since it’s pretty gross. Same with the cat’s litter. I just don’t want him noticing that those things even exist, so I’m going to hide them from him as long as possible, basically until they can be his chores. But if he’s up and I get a chance to clean, I make sure the dishes are put away and there’s no dishes in the sink or laying about the house. Mauricio is excellent at leaving dishes around, it’s a real talent he has. I don’t want to brag, but I’m pretty good at it too. So needless to say, there’s usually some dishes that need cleaned up around the house. I do my best every night to make sure the dishes are done and, if necessary, the dishwasher is started.
When I break it down like this, I realize my days mostly revolve around nap times, cleaning and making food, but I really don’t mind. The cleaning keeps me busy and like that I’m able to keep a somewhat clean house now that I’m home more. There are some days where I don’t feel like doing anything, but I’ve found that as long as I get my one big task of the day done, it really isn’t that bad if I put off a few things for one day. I just make sure to not make a habit of it. This routine isn’t perfect. And it’s not some foolproof how to get your life in order plan. But it’s been working for me for the last 9 months or so, and I sort of think I’m keeping my house decent. It’s not TV perfect by any means, but it’s clean enough that I don’t feel embarrassed if someone comes over out of the blue. And yes, I used to feel that way a lot. So if you’re looking to start the new year with a little organization, I’d say just look at what your major tasks in a week are and don’t put them all on one day, spread those bad boys out a bit so you don’t go crazy trying to get everything done at once. Then just make little adjustments to your daily routine that might help keep things cleaner, like leaving the sink empty each night. I’ve found cleaning throughout the day is a lot less intimidating than thinking about how you have so much to clean.